The thing that scares me about writing songs is that part of the process is outside of my control. There is an element in songwriting which is ‘other’. Some people call it the muse. I don’t really understand where it comes from or what it is but when I write songs, they don’t come just from me. Sure they are from my creativity but I couldn’t claim that I created them alone, at least not the good ones. It is hard to describe but anyone who has worked on something that has taken on a life of its own knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Without the ‘other’ in my songs they would be pretty dry. It scares me that part of my creative process lies outside of my control. I have written some songs without feeling inspired and got to the end with a pretty terrible song. Other times though, when I have had the courage to sit down and work on a song when I don’t feel inspired, something will come from it when the ‘other’ meets me and something good starts being made. I don’t know why only some of my songwriting sessions are successful but when I have a positive attitude going into it, I often have a good outcome.
The first song that I wrote for my song a week challenge was “James, Everybody’s Favourite Office Superhero”. It wasn’t a particularly good song and I wrote it as a comedy song, not a serious song. But towards the end of writing it, while I was working on the bridge, I realised that the song was partly about me. I had been writing it thinking of another person and somewhere along the way part of me had gone into the song. The ‘other’ had joined forces with me, without my knowing, to create something that took part of me and put it into a song.
Those are my favourite moments songwriting, when I give my all and am met by a creative force which breathes life into a song and makes it something worth listening to. Those are the moments that make all the other hard, painful parts worthwhile.